NaNoWriMo and Mental Health Month

Hey everyone, I have lots of exciting things to talk about!

Firstly, congratulations to the winner of the 1,000 likes #sharingiscaring giveaway! Your super-awesome, amazing book bundle will set sail today. And, I have to say, I am so envious because not even I have the gorgeous Penguin clothbound editions of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Wuthering Heights. Nor do I have the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hardcover. And yeah, I know, giving away the 3rd book in the series is kind of mean, I guess. But it’s my favourite!

I’m already thinking of giveaway ideas for that next milestone — 2,000 likes — so keep an eye out!

Giveaway teasers

Now onto NaNo
National Novel Writing Month starts the 1st of November. The goal is simple — well, simple in theory — write 50,000 words in 30 days. If you remember, Eleanor was a winner of last year’s NaNoWriMo, with 50,131 words written in 26 days! Yay!

This month, I will focus on research for my NaNo project — a novel on the Marquis de Sade. At this stage I am simply going over my texts, and thesis work, and just re-introducing myself to Sade. Of course, you well remember my studies on Sade. No? I’m not sure where my fascination with Sade started, but throughout my BA Professional Writing and Publishing degree, I made an effort to focus any creative writing assessment on that very naughty Frenchman. So obsessed was I that I decided to write my honours thesis on him. Well, the thesis title was ‘The construction of virtue in the Marquis de Sade’s Justine‘, so it was more about his tortured heroine. Though, I sort of make a point that they are similar entities — something I will explore in my book.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Eleanor by Cadence

While I am doing my research and planning for NaNo, my amazingly-talented graphic designer, Phoenix (of Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design) will be hard at work making a grand cover for the novel — it’s really more of a motivational tool to keep me committed to the project, much like the cover for Eleanor. And it certainly worked!

So, I’m very excited to see what Phoenix has planned for Sade.

During my research and planning, I will get a better idea of what it is I actually want to write. I have most of it sorted — in just this last week of research, I have been able to figure out the overarching plot, and some of the sub plots. Hopefully this means I can fashion up some sort of blurb for you soon.

I have a page set up already. I haven’t 100% decided on a title though. So far, I have a few ideas and have simply picked a temporary one to post up on the NaNo site — Crime of the Marquis de Sade — I’m likely to change it though. Also, I am a wee bit concerned it could be mistaken for a non-fiction work with a title like that.

If you are a fellow NaNoWriMo-er, feel free to check out my profile You are, of course, welcome to add me as a buddy.

Mental Health Month

You may remember, last week I spoke about Mental Health Month. Each year I use my Facebook page as a platform to raise awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness. But, it’s also a time when I ask followers to post pictures, memes, gifs, and whatnot of things that brighten their day, and may well brighten another’s day. See, we all know about the stigma. Words like “crazy”, “bipolar”, “insane”, and so on are casually thrown around, with little appreciation or understanding of mental health, nor of what implications those harmful words cause. Mental illness and suicide are sometimes stigmatised by the media too.

We are therefore surrounded by ideas and words which construct an image of a monster; that the mentally ill are people to be feared.

During Mental Health Month, this is the perfect time to challenge those ideas and words, and to challenge the media, to ensure we no longer stigmatise the mentally ill.

Remember, you can help shed a more positive light on mental health by making a #MentalHealthPromise

Mental Health Month promise

It’s very difficult to talk about the stigma surrounding mental health without going into a great, lengthy rant, but I will try and rein myself in.

The point is that we all know about the stigma. We need to work together to end it. Now! You can help. Yes, you can! Please avoid using words like “crazy” to describe someone. At least, ask yourself why you would call someone that. When a crime has been committed, don’t assume the criminal was mentally ill. Don’t even joke about it. Most people living with a mental illness would sooner hurt themselves than anyone else — we are empathetic; we understand pain a great deal and would never wish to inflict that kind of pain on anyone. Also, the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of crime.

I didn’t want to go this far, I know.

The main aim, however, of my Mental Health Month Facebook posts is to elicit some form of positive reaction. A smile, maybe. Or a picture of a cat. Doesn’t matter. I want people to know they are safe and can post whatever they like on my page without fear.

It’s hard to admit to having a mental illness, because of the stigma, because we can never be sure how someone will respond. It’s important though not to be ashamed or afraid of having a mental illness. Remember, mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is.

Please be kind to each other.

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone
Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24 hour crisis support.
If it is an emergency, phone 000.

Mental Health Month

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